Two years ago, Don Johnson won a lawsuit against Rysher Productions over compensation from Nash Bridges. A jury awarded him more than $23 million, but the judge increased that total to $50 million factoring in interest.
Easy come, easy go.
Today a California appellate court upheld Johnson's victory, but lowered the compensation due to a judge’s error and juror misconduct. Johnson will have to struggle with a mere $15 million.
Johnson's original claim was that he was stiffed over his 50 percent copyright interest from the CBS show, which ran from 1996-2001. In the appeal, Rysher told the appellate court that the lawsuit should be tossed because Johnson's claims were barred by the statute of limitations.
Rysher argued that a 1951 law stated that their 2002 indefinite tolling agreement with Johnson had to be renewed every four years. The appellate judge rejected that, saying the law only applied to a "waiver of the right to assert statute of limitations," not the necessity to keep getting written confirmation that the statute of limitations was suspended.
Furthermore, Rysher said that the tolling agreement it signed was with Johnson and not the actual plaintiff, Don Johnson Productions.
The judge did not go for that, either. saying that, "There is substantial evidence the parties negotiated the tolling agreement on behalf of plaintiff and Mr. Johnson."
The case appears to be headed to the California Supreme Court as both sides fight losses.